An Intelligent Crime Novel: Saints of the Shadow Bible

Saints of the Shadow BibleSaints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin

When a young woman is found unconscious at the wheel of her car, evidence at the scene suggests this was no ordinary crash. Meanwhile, John Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a big demotion and an even larger chip on his shoulder. A thirty-year-old case is being reopened, with Rebus and his team from back then suspected of corruption and worse. With political turmoil threatening to envelop Scotland, who really are the saints and who the sinners?

First Impressions: I didn’t know what to expect with this being book 19 in the Rebus series. Had missed too much? Was it a poor choice to start with as Rebus is being resurrected from retirement? Fans are divided between thinking Rebus is better than ever and that he should have remained tinkering in his shed and visiting National Trust sites. Anyway, the opening chapters read like a good crime novel to me so I was satisfied.

Highlights: I can see why the Rebus books are so popular. Rankin has created multi-layered intelligent crimes in this novel. It’s a good dense story stretching as far as the Scottish Independence campaigns. Of all the elements Rebus investigates I preferred the car crash as it is more your police procedural. It usually takes a couple of novels for me to fully get the measure of the main detective’s character and this is the same for Rebus. However, the epilogue slots a lot into place and it inspires me to read through the back catalogue and learn more about him. I found the epilogue slightly surprising in a good way – Rebus rocketed up in my esteem.

If I was an editor: The Shadow Bible itself I found a less appealing story strand and I predicted the outcome. Was it realistic Rebus was cornered into helping with the investigation? I don’t know.

Overall: A good introduction to the series.